Jamaican novelist tops Man Booker shortlist

A Brief History of Seven Killings. Marlon James. Riverhead.
A Brief History of Seven Killings. Marlon James. Riverhead.

Jamaican-born writer Marlon James was among the finalists for the prestigious Man Booker prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, about gang violence in Jamaica and an assassination attempt on reggae star Bob Marley.

There are two Americans on the list: Anne Tyler, nominated for A Spool of Blue Thread, about a Baltimore family (what else?) and Hanya Yanagihara, nominated for her critically acclaimed second novel, A Little Life, about four young men who move to New York after college.

The list is rounded out by The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma, set in the author’s native Nigeria; Satin Island by Brit Tom McCarthy, about a “corporate anthropologist” data mapping the world; and The Year of the Runaways, about Indian immigrants in England, by Sunjeev Sahota, also from the UK.

The biggest name missing from the list? Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson and her novel Lila, the third in her trilogy of novels about an Iowa plains town. Lila won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle award.

The winner will be announced on Oct. 13.